Just to be honest, I've found it a bit challenging to get my Christmas on with two babies, especially because the younger is attached to me (often literally, and I don't pump). Somehow, I decided the Tacky Lights Tour would be just the thing to alleviate my melancholy this evening. Only Clementine shared my enthusiasm about leaving the house, but I was encouraged by her excited donning of fuzzy pink hat and dancy sing-songing: "Go! Go! Go!" And the other family members didn't protest very long, or loudly.
The five of us hit eight stops on the Tour, which turned out to be the perfect number for our family. Each stop was magical in its own way, but two impacted me in particular. The first of these was 2605 Whiteclift Drive. The homeowners Dabrishus had prepared a very nice, detailed letter explaining that--after over a decade--this will be their last year to participate in Tacky Lights. Two of their three children (helpers) are in college out of state, and the third is a busy, high-school athlete. The homeowners are offering all of their lights for sale in a kind of "silent auction."
The second stop to impact me was 8202 Shelley Road, where we watched lights dance to music playing on 99.5 FM. Homeowners Shuler and Hatcher had food-bank donation boxes in their yard, as well as an "In Loving Memory" sign. The sign explained that their son Ralph--who had helped design and build their lightshow--passed away in October, and that they are participating in Tacky Lights this year only because that's what Ralph would want.
So. I expected to be dazzled by lights this evening, and I was. What I didn't expect was to come away from the Tacky Lights Tour with a greater appreciation of the season, and I refer not to the Christmas season, but to the life season.
This season of my life is not conducive to Christmas shopping; ice skating; preparing and sending two-hundred Christmas cards (or visiting the post office, in general); wrapping presents; decorating with anything that can deliver an electric shock, tip over, or be broken; drinking egg nog with liquor in it (which is the only kind I would bother drinking) or coffee with Saint Brendan's in it; sitting by the fireplace; attending a Christmas play or concert; etc. etc. ET FREAKIN' CETERA. And--trust me--I could go on and on, because I've felt a measure of disappointment over each and every thing I cannot do with ease, or at all, this Christmas season.
But these babies will grow into people who can live out my temporarily-lost traditions with me, and how wonderful will that be?! And the day will come when they're away at college, and how badly will I miss them?! And the day will come that I am separated from them by death (mine, I pray, and not theirs), and how [fill in the blank: I don't even want to try to figure it out] will that be?!
For now, they're so precious just the way they are: MeMe drawling out, with delight, "Baaaaby Jeeeesus!" as though she's from the Deep South, and Charleigh just trying to focus her big, round eyes.
So listen up, Folks. The Tacky Lights masters of 2605 Whiteclift Drive and 8202 Shelley Road might be the ONLY people who receive Christmas cards from Brandee Shafer in 2010, but, truly, I can't wait to prepare and send them! And may God bless the Dabrishus and Shuler-Hatcher families in their respective Christmas and life seasons!